10. Set goals.
What part of your game do you want to improve on? Want to earn more time on the power-play or penalty kill? Looking to cut down on turnovers or penalties? Write them down and review them as the season goes on.
9. Be a leader.
You don’t need to wear the “C” to be a leader. You don’t have to be the most skilled player or the team’s highest scorer to set a good example for your teammates. Work hard and be a good teammate that gives 110 percent.
8. Eat healthy.
Chips and ice cream are OK every once in a while, but skip the fast food drive-thru after practices/games. Plan ahead for proper fueling prior to hitting the ice. Eating well after hockey is essential to recovery. Your diet doesn’t have to be perfect, but make it balanced for improved performance.
7. Play different positions.
Especially at the younger levels, it’s fun and beneficial to try playing multiple positions. Seeing the ice as a winger is different than reading the play as a defenseman. Put on some goalie pads and find out if you enjoy stopping the puck.
6. Get enough sleep.
The Mayo Clinic recommends between 9-11 hours of sleep for school-aged children every night. Proper sleep can help boost energy and concentration levels, which will not only help on the ice, but also in the classroom. Get into a routine, stick to a schedule and try to limit TV, laptop and other media usage.
5. Watch your favorite players and teams.
It’s not only fun to watch Zach Parise, Kyle Rau and other stars on your favorite teams. It can also help your game. Don’t just focus on goals. Pay attention to their positioning, work ethic, stickhandling, passing, poise, skating and play away from the puck.
4. Never quit.
Never give up on yourself or your teammates. Finish every drill hard. Developing these qualities will lead to more goals, more wins and better development.
3. Listen to your coaches and thank your parents.
There is a lot of sacrifice that goes into providing young kids opportunities to play hockey. Coaches and parents volunteer their time to ensure it’s a fun and memorable experience. Make sure they know you appreciate them.
2. Play outside.
Most young hockey players around the country can only dream about skating on the pond. We Minnesotans have the luxury of looking forward to outdoor hockey every year. Take advantage of it. Unstructured hockey is a great way to improve skills.
1. Have fun!
Why do we play hockey in the first place? For the love of the game. For a chance to learn and develop new skills. For a chance to play with your friends in your community. No matter what the score is, always remember that hockey is supposed to be fun!